I am at the Global Influence Summit in San Diego and Brian Smith, the Founder of UGGS, just finished his talk. He as an AMAZING story!!!
Seeing every type of person wearing UGGs around the world, you only see the success. Brian Smith climbed a series of mountains and slid down into the darkest valleys, including at one point not even owning the company due to a legal snafu, on his crusade for every person in the world to want a pair of UGGs.
I would highly recommend you read his whole story in Birth of a Brand but I wanted I wanted to share my top five nuggets of wisdom (there were plenty to choose from) that I gleaned from his story.
- Never advertise the product, advertise the benefit. When you read this statement you think, of course you advertise the benefit, yet, how many people in the last week have tried to sell you a product. People want to know what is in it for them. What kind of lifestyle will they live if they use your product? Will they look and/or feel younger, more attractive, or smarter? Will life be easier? That is what you need to talk about.
- Be a benefactor, not a salesperson. Brian talked about how he didn’t just sell UGGs to the surfer stores. He helped them design their merchandising for more sales. He helped them come up with new marketing ideas that not only affected the sales of UGG’s but everything in their store. When the UGGs got into trouble, these store owners supported Brian because he was more than just a salesperson, he was a partner looking out for the best interest of the store owner.
- Your brand is what your customers think of you. Billions upon billions of dollars are spent on branding every year. In the end, how your loyal customers think of you and your product is YOUR brand. Therefore, you need to promote yourself and your products in a way that aligns with what you want your customer to think of you. A disconnect can spell disaster.
- Go looking for what you want, don’t wait for it. When Brian graduated as an accountant, he immediately started looking for business opportunities. He realized that all of the cool stuff was coming out of California so he moved there from Australia to find something to bring back home. He was a surfer and from a magazine ad for sheepskin boots he came up with the idea of starting UGGs.
- Defeat is not real until you give up. Including losing ownership of the company and suffering business losses to a copycat, Brian had several moments when it looked like failure was inevitable. But, he couldn’t give up. So, even though on paper there were a lot of defeats, he never let them become reality. He fought back every challenge doing what he could to make UGGs a global brand.
You may be like me and just assumed that UGGs went from zero to the over a $1 Billion in international sales every year in an instant and without much drama. You would be wrong. And, the story of Brian Smith and UGGs is similar to a lot of stories of companies who are international conglomerates. The road to success is not paved with gold. It is paved with blood, sweat, and tears and requires tenacity, commitment, and a belief in the business and oneself that obliterates what is seen in reality.
By following Brian’s tips, you might be the next UGGs!